A FRIEND of a well-known homeless man who has died, after living in a Malvern bus shelter, has talked about the complexities of trying to help vulnerable rough sleepers.

Sandra Hinton, like many others, would take food to Remigiusz Boczarski while he lived in the shelter in Wells Road, and would also often wash his clothes.

Mr Boczarski – known as Rem and thought to have been born in Poland – is believed to have taken his own life on October 30, aged 40.

Mrs Hinton, from Malvern, said she thinks she could have been the last person to see Mr Boczarski alive, and is listed as an interested party for his inquest, set for January 24.

She said her friend was offered places in shelters over the years, but due to his perceived mental health problems, he found it “difficult” and preferred to live alone.

“I was one of many who helped him out with food while he was living in the bus shelter,” said Mrs Hinton, 55.

“He was known to so many people in Malvern, and people here helped him. There were always people going to speak to him and give him clothes.

“He would turn up at my door and I would wash his clothes and give him a meal. He was always a really nice guy. He never overstayed his welcome.”

Mrs Hinton said Mr Boczarski at one point did live in a flat in Malvern Link, but lost it because he got into arrears with his rent and “had a lot of problems”.

The pair knew each other for around five years, but Mrs Hinton said she would often not see him for weeks or months at a time.

She said that on the final time she saw him, he turned up out of the blue to ask if she would do his washing but looked unwell.

“I hadn't seen him since the summer,” she said. “He looked ill and I was very worried.”

She believes Mr Boczarski’s parents have been informed and have travelled to the UK to repatriate their son.

“At least he won’t have a pauper’s funeral,” said Mrs Hinton, who said Mr Boczarski had lived here for 13 years but always claimed to be Ukrainian, despite having a Polish passport.

She said he had worked as a labourer but had problems with alcohol and often lived on the Malvern Hills “because he preferred the solitude” – though lived in the bus shelter from last winter.

He was there during the Beast from the East storm, when snow and sub-zero temperatures ravaged the UK.

Mrs Hinton described Mr Boczarski as “one of many dying on the streets in a wealthy country”.

“I am concerned that not enough is done to help the vulnerable adults with addictions and mental health problems,” she continued.

“But how do you help people with so many problems to address? He’s just another statistic now and there’s loads more.

“It's hard enough to access mental health support when you’re living in a home and when you’re part of the system – but when you’re on the streets it’s difficult.

“He was known to all authorities,” she said. “I can't comment on what help he was given, because he was a bit vague.”

A former volunteer at Worcester Street Café, Mrs Hinton said: “There’s so many volunteers out there working tirelessly, but what would happen to these people if it wasn't for volunteers? I hold my hat off to the volunteers.

“Homelessness is a bigger and bigger problem. Through my involvement with the street café, you see the same people over and over. You do get to know genuine homeless people who turn up every night but are in a vulnerable state.

“It isn't always the answer, just finding them homes. Many have multiple mental health problems, and addictions. Even if they get a home, there’s not necessarily any continued support for them once they’re in that home.”

To help raise money for Worcester Street Café, Mrs Hinton and seven others, including her husband David and café founder Sharon Multani, will be sleeping rough for the night in the city centre on December 14.

“We were on about putting on skiwear, but then we thought: you’re supposed to be able to feel the cold through your clothes,” said Mrs Hinton.

“There’s no point in wearing thick, padded ski clothes – homeless people aren’t – you’ve really got to feel the discomfort.”

You can donate at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sandra-hinton